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Home » Books » Children's » Fiction » Humorous Stories

Howl's Moving Castle

By Diana Wynne Jones

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Format: Paperback, 301 pages
Other Information: black & white illustrations
Published In: United Kingdom, 29 November 2008
A new look for one of Diana Wynne Jones' funniest and most popular novels. In the land of Ingary, where seven league boots and cloaks of invisibility do exist, Sophie Hatter catches the unwelcome attention of the Witch of the Waste and is put under a spell. Deciding she has nothing more to lose, she makes her way to the moving castle that hovers on the hills above Market Chipping. But the castle belongs to the dreaded Wizard Howl whose appetite, they say, is satisfied only by the souls of young girls...There she meets Michael, Howl's apprentice, and Calcifer the Fire Demon, with whom she agrees a pact. But Sophie isn't the only one under a curse - her entanglements with Calcifer, Howl, and Michael, and her quest to break her curse is both gripping - and howlingly funny!

About the Author

Diana Wynne Jones spent her childhood in Essex and has been writing fantasy novels for children since 1973. With her unique combination of magic, humour and imagination, she has been enthralling children and adults with her work ever since. She won the Guardian Award in 1977 with Charmed Life, was runner-up for the Children's Book Award in 1981, and was twice runner-up for the Carnegie Medal. She is married with three sons, and lives in Bristol with her husband.


"Imaginative and terribly funny "Michael MorpurgoTHE TELEGRAPH - 100 Best Books a Child Should Read"Wit and humor glint from the pages"THE HORN BOOKPraise for Diana Wynne Jones"...Her hallmarks include laugh-aloud humour, plenty of magic and imaginative array of alternate worlds. Yet, at the same time, a great seriousness is present in all of her novels, a sense of urgency that links Jones's most outrageous plots to her readers' hopes and fears..."Publishers Weekly"Diana Wynne Jones ought to be crowned with coloured garlands because she is the best writer of magical fantasy for children in this country " Evening Standard"Diana Wynne Jones could teach Stephen King and JK Rowling a thing or two ... [she] has a skill for inserting just the right amount of detail in her written words, leaving you satiated but not stuffed." SFX

EAN: 9780007299263
ISBN: 0007299265
Publisher: HarperCollins Children's Books
Dimensions: 19.76 x 13 x 2.08 centimetres (0.18 kg)
Age Range: 10-14 years
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4 review(s)
All Reviews
Julie-Anne on
I'm always slightly jealous of people who haven't read books written by Diana Wynne Jones - they get to experience the wonder of her books for the first time, something I wish I could do again myself. There is something magical in the deft way she manages to twist a story, keeping the reader's imagination running the whole way through, and tying everything up beautifully by the end of it all. I will readily recommend each and every one of her books to any age, but HMC remains in my top ten overall - and I am an extremely prolific reader.

A word of advice for fans of the movie looking to read the book, however; don't read it with the film in mind, but rather think of the two as separate entities that just happen to share a few elements, and go from there. You are sure to enjoy it a lot more if you're not constantly comparing it to the film... Towards the end, especially, the story lines differ quite dramatically. I won't say more than that.
Larissa on
In the land of Ingary there exists a powerful and feared wizard named Howl who is well known for his wickedness. Howl devours girls, taking their hearts. He also spends hours at a time in the bathroom. Howl is a brilliant and talented wizard who is charming and charismatic, however he is also messy, vain and a terrible coward. But that is to be expected from one as heartless as Howl.

As the eldest of three daughters, Sophie is domed to a life of mundane boredom, and then the Witch of the Waste appears and curses her. Forced to leave her home Sophie soon finds herself on Howl's doorstep, however, changed as she is she feels quite safe that Howl would not be interested in her heart. But then again she could be wrong.

Howl's Moving Castle is a dreamy story of magic and wonder where friendships, secrets, demons and danger follow Sophie's every move. In many ways it is a re-imagining of the Wizard of Oz with heartless Howl also searching for courage, a scarecrow looking for a brain and a lost Sophie looking for a place to call home. An intricate fairytale for all ages, but one you should pay close attention to if you are to lift the curses plaguing these colourful characters.
Ceri on
Diana Wynne-Jones is an under-appreciated author whose stories can sometimes be confusing to say the least (you need a very vivid imagination and open mind to even keep up), but the characters she creates are always rich and exciting, and Howl is no exception. Although many people have seen the movie first and hate the book because it is rather different in places, I still have a soft spot for the book ever since I read it, years ago.
I've read the sequel to the sequel of this book, The House of Many Ways, but I much prefer Howl's Moving Castle for many reasons. The characters are more exciting, funny and enjoyable, the pace is reasonably fast and the ideas expressed are amusing to the readers.
Recommended, for 11-17 (cos I still love it, years afterwards) year olds with an interest in fantasy and magic. Not for people who find plotholes and errors in everything...some things just have to be taken with a pinch of salt. Or fairy dust.
Customer on
Sad to say, the movie was much better than the book. I found the book to be too abstract for my liking, and I preferred the basic storyline of the film. Diana Wynne Jones kind of lost the plot on this story and the other stories she did far outranked this one.

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